To Write, or Not to Write? That’s Not the Question.


It’s not an option whether I write or not. It has to be. I must write. I’m not entirely sure what would happen if I stopped (explode into millions of tiny pieces, perhaps), but nothing has been the same since summer ended.

I put aside my novel — for mental and emotional reasons — was told that a poem and short story of mine are going to be published in December, and took back writing poetry.

There’s nothing special about that. What scares me is that I haven’t had the itch, the impulse for creating story lines, conversations, or background information on characters. There has been no impulse to work on a lengthy piece — more specifically my novel.

Over the last month I’ve put together the pieces of my sanity and scraps of internal conflict, largely thanks to the release of poetry, and am now standing with my hands open to the skies, waiting for a genius idea to fall out of the clouds and smack me in the face (this is usually how ideas come to me).

Apparently the clouds have nothing to offer but gray-yellow-blue shimmer and rabbit shapes.

I’m attributing it to fall fever. You know, like spring fever, but more powerful because everything in autumn has such gravity, such colour and distraction. (I wrote that in the voice of an excited jazz choreographer.)

Yet there is something there. Not the itch or urge to write about Arden and Tristan again, but a luminous curiosity that sort of surrounds my poetry in a soft glow. I’m wondering about them again, how they’re doing, what they’re thinking, where they’re going to end up. Right now it’s looking like they might be stuck on my C: drive for eternity, but I don’t want that to happen to another of my stories. I already have eight or nine started novels sitting dormant in their sad little folders; it’s not a fate I would wish on my falconer or my prince.

But what am I supposed to do? My fingers aren’t itchy. They are simply aware of the things that used to be and the things that could be.

I’m not forcing myself. I’m still writing poetry — I never want to give that up again, ever — but it might be time to return to North Ferin again… I’ll start slow, with redrawing of chapter synopses (synopsi sounds better), and if that, er, tickles my fingers, then great. If not, I’ll have to take on stronger stimuli, like locking myself in a room with nothing in it but a jar of Nutella, a box of Bic pens, a notebook, and paperback copies of Lord of the Rings.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

However, with this recent, bizarre turn of events, I find myself pushing my own boundaries. Thinking about my story, my first draft, I can see the risks that I could take to make it that much more dangerous. I want it to singe with risk. And it’s exciting, and dreadfully frightening, and challenging. I’m always up for a challenge, reaching higher and further and deeper and faster.

Is it time for this ship to leave port? I hope so. I’m unprepared for storms or shipwrecks, but that’s all part of the adventure, isn’t it? Besides, I read The Swiss Family Robinson half a dozen times or more, so if I wreck on a tropical island I’ll know exactly how things go down. 😉

Have you ever had to ease yourself back into the writing swing of things? Has Nutella ever helped? Am I the only sufferer of fall fever? Have you ventured outside of port?

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